Joining forces to tackle the sanitation crisis

Unilever has founded The Toilet Board Coalition, an initiative which aims to help tackle the world’s sanitation crisis through collaboration.

World Toilet Day

On 19 November, Unilever and Domestos mark World Toilet Day. It’s a chance to recognise that while many of us take for granted easy access to clean, hygienic toilets in our homes, for many people in developing countries the reality is very different.

Every two minutes a child dies of diseases related to poor sanitation and some 50% of schools in low-income countries don’t have clean, safe toilets.

An estimated 2.5 billion people live without access to adequate sanitation, and almost one billion of them continue to defecate in the open. This exposes communities to serious health risks, and has wider implications on nutrition, education – particularly for girls – and sustainable economic development. 

Domestos, Unilever’s leading hygiene brand, has recently committed to helping 25 million people gain improved access to toilets by 2020 – but solving the sanitation crisis isn’t something that we can do alone. 

Improving access for millions

Transformational collaboration is key to addressing this global concern, and the launch this month of the Toilet Board Coalition, initiated by Unilever and built in partnership with some of the most forward-thinking NGOs, companies and academic organisations in sanitation, is a significant move towards building a brighter future for millions.

It will ensure close collaboration between private, public and non-profit players to bring together the best technologies, expertise, financial resources and networks to develop market-based sanitation initiatives that can be implemented at scale.    

As Jean-Laurent Ingles, Senior VP, Household Care and Chairman of the Toilet Board Coalition, explains: “The Toilet Board introduces an essential, missing ingredient in the fight towards improving sanitation globally.”

He adds: “By working with development experts, businesses can select, improve and nurture scalable initiatives that will increase demand for toilets and address every step of the value chain in a commercially sustainable way.”  

Our partners and initiatives

Joining Unilever on the Toilet Board Coalition are Kimberly-Clark, LIXIL Corporation, and Firmenich, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Leeds University, plus The Stone Family Foundation, WaterAid, the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Programme, BRAC, Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), the Asian Development Bank, the World Toilet Organization, Water and Sanitation for Africa, UNICEF, Agence Française De Développement, and the UK’s Department for International Development.

A number of initiatives have already been started by the Toilet Board Coalition including projects to introduce mobile toilets in urban Ghana, partnerships with rural sanitation agencies to test sustainable solutions for villages in India, Bangladesh and Cambodia, and the launch of an open innovation team to explore next-generation sanitation solutions.

Read a press release about the launch of the Toilet Board Coalition.

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